Curriculum Requirements

The coursework accompanying our Master's and Ph.D degrees fulfill the curricular requirements of the Behavior Analysis Certification Board. In addition, these programs are accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis International.

M.A. in Applied Behavioral Science

The ABAI accredited master's program trains highly competent scientist-practitioners in applied behavioral science. The program offers courses on the empirical and conceptual foundations of behavioral science and its research methods, but emphasizes coursework and supervised experience in behavioral assessment, analysis, intervention, and evaluation. Its mission is to advance empirically-based solutions to problems of societal importance.


The master’s degree requires a minimum of 30 credit hours: 18 hours in 6 content areas (required courses), 3 hours in a practicum, and research and elective courses. See also: requirements for the online M.A. The six required courses are:

CourseKU Course CodeOnline Course Code
ABSC 735/770: Within-Subjects Research Methodology & Direct ObservationABSC 735ABSC 770
ABSC 746/771:Introduction to Applied Behavioral ScienceABSC 746ABSC 771
ABSC 799/854:Experimental Analysis of BehaviorABSC 799ABSC 854
ABSC 800/772: Conceptual Foundations of Behavioral ScienceABSC 800ABSC 772
ABSC 841/851:Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues in Applied Behavioral ScienceABSC 841ABSC 851
ABSC 861/850:Principles of Behavior AnalysisABSC 861ABSC 850
Research Practicum Intervention Practicum Thesis HoursVaries 


Waiving requirements

If you were admitted for the Master’s degree having taken graduate courses at another university, you are still required to complete all of the ABS coursework and other requirements for the Master’s degree outlined in Appendices A or B. However, you may request that your prior graduate courses count as fulfilling a portion of the ABS Master’s degree coursework as long as you earned a grade of A or B (B- is not good enough).

Proseminar Requirement

The department holds weekly Proseminars that have expectations and requirements for students. The department’s Proseminar – or Prosem – comprises presentations by visiting researchers and scholars, faculty members across the university, faculty members in the department, and graduate students. It meets at 3:30 on Friday afternoons during the fall, spring, and summer semesters. One of Prosem’s expectation is that you attend and participate in them.

The Prosem requirement is that you make a presentation. For a Master’s degree, you make one presentation, usually in the second year of the program. The presentation is usually based on your Master’s research, but may also be based on other research and scholarship (e.g., literature reviews, conceptual issues), as your advisor recommends.

Master's Thesis

For your M.A. degree, you are required to propose, complete, write up, and orally defend an empirically based Master’s thesis. You may begin working on it as soon as you begin the program, but it should begin by the end of your first year. When your data are collected and analyzed, the thesis needs to be written and defended. You will have successfully completed your Master’s thesis when it is passed and signed by two of three members of your thesis committee (see below) and you have completed 30 credit hours numbered 700 and higher while classified as a graduate student.

Substituting a Master’s thesis

An empirical Master’s thesis that was defended orally in front of a committee at another university will be accepted at KU if (a) you successfully passed the oral defense, (b) your advisor reads the thesis and finds that it meets the standards of the ABS department, and (c) the Graduate Studies Committee votes with a simple majority to accept the recommendation of your advisor.